Unless Rams deal, they will be observers of NFL draft until Day 2, Round 3


Though they are set at quarterback, and without a first-round pick in the NFL draft for the second year in a row, Rams general manager Les Snead, coach Sean McVay and the scouting and personnel staffs will still pay attention Thursday night when the three-day draft begins at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Snead said this week that it would be fun to sit back and “actually see how that whole top five, all the quarterback drama plays out.”

The Rams also will monitor what might have been.

Earlier this month, they gave up the 23rd pick to acquire receiver Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots.


“It’s always fun to go, ‘OK, let’s see who might have fallen to 23,’ ” Snead said. “And we’ll have fun looking at maybe who we would have drafted if that would have been the case.”

Then it is time to put into action what the Rams’ scouting department has been preparing for since last year’s draft in Philadelphia ended.

The Rams do not have a second-round pick — which they sent to Buffalo in last year’s trade for receiver Sammy Watkins — but will closely monitor those selections Friday as the draft moves toward their first pick, which comes in the third round at No. 87.

“You start strategizing,” said Snead, who also has three fourth-round picks and four sixth-round picks. “Do you move up? Or do you move back and try to accumulate more picks?”

If the Rams stand pat, more than seven dozen players will come off the board before they pick.

“We have a very specific, sequential approach that we want to take at that third-round pick,” McVay said.


Neither Snead nor McVay would specify exactly what the Rams are seeking as they attempt to build off last season’s NFC West title.

With quarterback Jared Goff — the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft — under control at $7.6 million this season, they fulfilled many of their needs by trading for cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, signing free-agent defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and trading for Cooks.

But they also traded linebackers Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, so they are searching for linebackers, especially edge rushers.

Players such as North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb have dominated pre-draft media reports and mock drafts. Chubb and other top prospects will not be available when the Rams finally make their pick.

“Some of those guys like Bradley Chubb get mentioned over and over again,” Snead said. “You do somewhat forget that maybe there [are] other guys other than him that rush the passer.

“Every year of the draft shows that there are guys that aren’t just household names that can come in and make an impact.”


The Rams also are searching for players who can help improve offensive line depth.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan are at the far end of their careers, and guards Rodger Saffold and Jamon Brown and right tackle Rob Havenstein are in the final year of their contracts.

The Rams found value in the third round and beyond in the last few drafts.

In 2015, Brown was a third-round pick. Last year, receiver Cooper Kupp and safety John Johnson were selected in the third round.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein